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Triathlon - 14. January 2008.

Elites Begin 2008 with Eyes on Olympic Trials, Beijing

CLERMONT, Fla. ( Jan. 10 2008 )


The athletes looking to join Laura Bennett (N. Palm Beach, Fla. / Boulder, Colo.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass. / Maynard, Mass.) on the team are in the early stages of training for the new season with hopes of peaking for the first qualifier of the year, the U.S. Olympic Trials in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 19. The top man and woman at the race will secure a spot on the team, with the two final slots (one man, one woman) determined after the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa on June 22.

To get in prime training during the month of January, a group of USAT Resident Team members and several other elites are participating in a pre-season training camp at USA Triathlon’s National Training Center in Clermont, Fla.

“Coming off the break from the end of last season, it’s a good time to re-focus and get back into structured training,” said USAT Sport Performance Director Scott Schnitzspahn. “The environment is obviously different than Colorado Springs, but the Training Center gives the athletes good support, an opportunity to train in a warm, humid environment, to log longer miles, and for open water swim training.”

Among the Olympic-eligible athletes at the camp are Sara McLarty (DeLand, Fla.), Sarah Haskins (St. Louis, Mo.), Jasmine Oeinck (Littleton, Colo.), Brian Fleischmann (Jacksonville, Fla.), Tim O’Donnell (Shavertown, Pa.), Joe Umphenour (Bellevue, Wash.), and Mark Fretta (Spokane, Wash.), with Hunter Kemper (Longwood, Fla.), Matt Reed (Boulder, Colo.), and Julie Ertel (Irvine, Calif.) planning to stop in for short stays.

Once the month-long camp is complete, the Resident Team athletes will return to Colorado for altitude training and testing. Then in March, the Olympic-eligible athletes will head back to sea-level and to the sun of Tucson, Ariz., for another training camp, where they will focus on speed work and make final preparations for Trials and the competitive season.

The ITU New Plymouth World Cup two weeks out from Trials will serve as a tune-up race for several of the athletes.

In addition to preparing the athletes for the Trials and Olympic Games and finalizing logistics for the trip to Beijing, the Sport Performance staff is also focused on the development of the next generation of Olympic hopefuls. “We are readying those athletes who have already qualified, those looking to qualify, and those younger athletes in our development program who are aiming for 2012. We need to make sure they are moving along their path,” said Schnitzspahn.
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